Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Live prices last week were at $114/cwt. and dressed trade was at $182.
The weekly five-area direct average fed steer price last week was $114.07/cwt., which was even with the previous week but 78¢ less than the previous year. The average five-area dressed steer price was $181.63, which was $1.06 more than the previous week but $3.15 less than the previous year.
Cattle futures extended losses Monday, with pressure including last week’s steady cash prices, the outlook for steady money this week and expectations for declining wholesale beef values.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ lower, except for unchanged to an average of 8¢ higher in three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 70¢ lower (10¢ lower toward the back to $1.47 lower in spot Mar), except for 50¢ higher in the back contract.
Boxed beef cutout value: Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.50 lower Monday afternoon at $239.03/cwt. Select was $2.09 lower at $227.64.
Grain Futures softened Monday, pressured by the stronger U.S. Dollar and recently weaker export sales.
Corn futures closed 8¢ to 9¢ lower through the front three contracts, 1¢ to 5¢ lower through the next five and then 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 13¢ lower through Aug’21, and then mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher
Major U.S. financial indices roared back Monday, helped along by a lower Treasury yield rate and U.S. approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine—this one a single-shot version from Johnson & Johnson.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 603 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 90 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 396 points.
Although the La Niña weather pattern leveled off recently, it will return with warm and dry conditions over most of the United States into the summer, according to Dr. Art Douglas, professor emeritus at Creighton University.
“The Pacific jet stream is positioned far north from normal preventing moisture from reaching the continent,” Douglas explained at last week’s CattleFax Outlook, held during the virtual 2021 Cattle Industry Convention Winter Reboot. “The only significant moisture will be in the Ohio Valley and along the Canadian border from northeast North Dakota into Minnesota.”
Douglas forecasts the Southwest U.S. will be warmer than normal, and the western half of the country will be relatively dry. Dry conditions in the Rockies will eventually extend into the central Corn Belt, he said, causing concerns for corn and soybean growers.
With crops and feed costs in mind, Mike Murphy, CattleFax vice president of research and risk management services, estimated that there will be 181 million planted acres of corn and soybeans in 2021, the most ever combined acres for those two commodities.
“That number is likely to be even higher, and in some regards it needs to be larger to balance the demand and build back supply,” said Murphy. He explained corn should be able to balance supply and demand, but soybean supplies will be snugger globally, with a smaller crop expected from South America.
On the demand side of the ledger, Murphy explained China is looking for higher quality feed ingredients, such as corn and soybeans, as that nation rebuilds its pork industry in the wake of African Swine Fever. That includes the estimated 700 million bu. of corn China purchased from the U.S. this year.
“As soybean prices drive higher, soybeans will have a greater influence on the value of corn, bringing corn prices with it,” said Murphy.
Spot soybean prices are expected to be $13.50-$16.50/bu. for the remainder of 2021, according to Murphy.